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Abstract

The Quaternary rocks of Ireland are dominated by glacial deposits mostly dating from the last glaciation or glacial cycle. The glaciation of Ireland occurred under optimum conditions of precipitation supply from the northeast Atlantic Ocean. The geomorphology of Ireland that consisted of a vast lowland and peripheral mountain blocks resulted in the development of a major ice-sheet over the central Irish lowlands while individual mountain centres nourished their own ice-caps. The lowland ice sheets dominated each glaciation and probably interacted dynamically with the more transient upland ice caps. During the maximum extent of the Pleistocene ice-sheets and with the notable exceptions of the highest Cork-Kerry, Wicklow and Donegal mountains all of Ireland was ice-covered. Glaciation was further enhanced by ice from Scotland and the Irish Sea Basin that crossed the Irish coastline on several occasions.

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